In Texas, like elsewhere in the United States, a common issue faced by most divorcing couples is property division. A lengthy dispute between divorcing spouses over division of marital property can result in bitterness and affect the children of the couple as well.
In the Texas matrimonial law system, there are two types of marital property: the property that is owned by one spouse and community property, which both spouses own together. Property that is acquired during a marriage is community property. A spouse must prove that he or she is sole owner in order for their separate property to be excluded from property identified as marital at the time of property division.
The identification of community property is a principle prevalent in many U.S. states. The earnings of both spouses and the revenues from the property are also considered community property. Even separate property may be converted into community property by a sale. Separate property can retain its character but when it is commingled with community property, there is no separate ownership so it is regarded as community property at the time of property division.
Historically, since 1987, couples have been allowed to agree that community property belongs to the surviving spouse after the first spouse dies. Before 1913 and between 1929 and 1968, the husband usually managed community property. Since 1967, community property management is based on ownership of that property and not gender. Property division also has another principle: Each spouse should exercise control over his or her earnings.
However, once the property is commingled with the property of the other spouse, it loses that distinct ownership and becomes common property eligible for division in the event of divorce. It is possible for spouses to enter into an agreement about management of community property.
Source: TSHAOnline.org, “COMMUNITY PROPERTY LAW,” accessed on Sept. 29, 2014